Counseling (M.A., Certificate)

M.A. in Counseling

The M.A. degree program in Counseling is informed by an understanding of Christian faith and mental health. We are committed to training graduate-level clinicians to be instruments of change that reflect a compassionate presence to the diverse and changing communities they will serve. Graduate students are trained in the knowledge and skills of effective counseling and ethical practice in order to seek social justice and offer hope as they serve others with integrity and humility.

The College of Adult & Professional Studies offers undergraduate certificates in Addiction Studies and in Alcohol and Drug Counseling.  Contact either the program or clinical director for more information.

Program Outcomes

Graduates of the M.A. in Counseling Program at Bethel University will:

  • Develop a professional identify as a Mental Health Counselor within the broader counseling profession.
  • Demonstrate proficiency in the counseling core curriculum and specialty area of Mental Health Counseling.
  • Apply research to the evaluation and practice of effective counseling. Apply ethical principles and ethical decision-making to counseling practice.
  • Apply cultural sensitivity in research, assessment, and intervention.
  • Develop sensitivity to religious and spiritual diversity throughout the counseling process.
  • Demonstrate professional counseling competencies in a mental health clinical setting.

Program Design

  • The program is designed to be completed in three academic years (33 months), including summer sessions.
  • Classes meet either one afternoon and evening or two evenings each week.
  • A practicum is required during the final year.
  • A supportive learning community is achieved through the cohort model—a small group of students who will progress through their degree program together.

Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

The Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health is a 12 semester credit sequence of courses. It is designed for a wide range of professionals including:

  • EBD teachers (master’s level)
  • School counselors, social workers, and psychologists
  • Licensed independent clinical social workers, marriage and family therapists, counselors, and psychologists
  • Youth/children’s ministry pastors
  • Pastoral care and counseling pastors

Students will develop specialized professional skills and gain more understanding of:

  • Child and adolescent mental health issues and needs.
  • Techniques such as art therapy, play therapy, cognitive behavior therapy, crisis intervention, and counseling microskills.
  • Skills to assess and evaluate mental health needs and determine appropriate intervention strategies.
  • Collaborative skills with parents, mental health professionals, education personnel, county social workers, and other professionals.
  • Ethical concerns regarding roles, boundaries, and competencies unique to working with this population and their families in various settings.
  • Your personal perspective on the integration of faith and working with children and adolescents.

Program Design

  • Classes meet one evening each week.
  • Program comprises 12 semester credits.

Degree Program

Certificate in Child and Adolescent Mental Health

COUN600 • Foundations of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. 3 Credits.

Overview of the history and current practice of Clinical Mental Health Counseling. Emphasis is on professional identity, practice issues, working with systems, consultation and advocacy, and preventative counseling. Issues of serving diverse communities and access to service will be addressed.

COUN605 • Family Systems. 3 Credits.

The study of family systems and the major family therapy theories including their application to case conceptualization, clinical treatment planning, and clinical intervention methods. Emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice and critiquing models in light of current research perspectives, including gender and diversity concerns.

COUN610 • Counseling Microskills. 3 Credits.

Overview and practice of core counseling skills. Emphasis is on the development of core helping skills and attitudes foundational to an effective counseling process. Specific focus on interviewing skills with attention towards counseling relationship ethics and cultural diversity factors may influence the counseling process.

COUN615 • Worldview and Integration of Faith and Spirituality in Counseling. 3 Credits.

Overview and critique of different worldviews and their impact on the counseling process. Topics include those central to the practice of counseling and engaging respectfully with issues of faith and spirituality with clients and colleagues. Specific focus is on working to understand one’s own faith and spirituality and engaging therapeutically and respectfully with clients who hold a different faith and/or spiritual practice.

COUN620 • Multicultural Counseling and Social Justice. 3 Credits.

The influence of culture and related factors on client-counselor interactions. Primary emphasis on developing greater multicultural counseling competence through increased: self-awareness; knowledge of and sensitivity to perspectives of individuals from diverse backgrounds (e.g. ethnic, racial, class, gender, sexual identity, physical ability, religious preference); the use of culturally appropriate skills in counseling; and applying a social justice ethic.

COUN625 • Theories and Techniques of Group Counseling. 3 Credits.

A study of the theories, techniques, history, and principles related to group practice in counseling. Emphasis is on development of group facilitation skills. Ethical concerns, multicultural adaptations, and spiritual integration in group dynamics are addressed.

COUN630 • Addictions Counseling. 3 Credits.

Overview of Addictions Counseling and its various forms including symptoms, assessment, and treatment approaches. Topics cover behavioral and substance use addictions, psychopharmacology, legal and ethical considerations, family system dynamics, neurological factors, co-occurring disorders, and gender and cultural responsible interventions.

COUN635 • Lifespan Development. 3 Credits.

Familial, cultural, and societal contexts as framework for understanding individual development through normative and non-normative transition from birth through death. Application of a developmental framework for counseling.

COUN640 • Psychopathology and Diagnosis. 3 Credits.

Critical review of current research on etiology of the most common psychopathologies. Examination of the diagnostic process. Discussion of formulations, symptoms, and progression of various disorders will interface with a consideration of appropriate therapeutic interventions. Ethics, biases, and the reliability/validity of categorization are addressed.

COUN645 • Individual and Family Assessment. 3 Credits.

Examination of assessment throughout the counseling process. Current and historical context of assessment and testing in counseling. Emphasis on administration, scoring, and interpretation of instruments for assessment and diagnosis of personality and psychopathology; psychometric properties; ethical use of instruments; factors affecting reliability and validity; and synthesizing data. Ethical and cultural relevant strategies for assessment are addressed.
Course fee: $50.

COUN650 • Theories and Techniques of Counseling. 3 Credits.

The study of major counseling theories and their application to case conceptualization, clinical treatment planning, and clinical intervention methods. Emphasis on the relationship between theory and practice and critiquing models in light of current research and perspectives, including gender and diversity concerns.

COUN655 • Professional Orientation and Ethics. 3 Credits.

Legal, ethical, and professional issues facing mental health providers, including confidentiality, informed consent, client dangerousness, conflicts of interest, boundary issues (including sexual involvement), values conflicts, religious issues and ethics, and scope of competence are addressed. Emerging ethical standards, particularly with regard to new technologies. Emphasis on the American Counseling Association Code of Ethics and professional conduct and MN state licensure statutes.

COUN660 • Research Methods and Evaluation. 3 Credits.

Study qualitative and quantitative research designs particularly applicable to professional counseling. Primary emphasis is on developing research skills in using outcome measures in the evaluation of effective clinical practice and using research findings in clinical decision making. Ethical and culturally relevant strategies for research are addressed.

COUN665 • Clinical Assessment and Intervention. 3 Credits.

Knowledge and practice of the skills necessary to conduct mental health assessments and interventions in the clinical settings. Conducting assessment with children, adolescents, adults, and families will be covered. Specific focus on treatment planning and crisis intervention models including suicidal clients, child abuse and neglect, and IPV.

COUN670 • Theories and Techniques of Career Counseling. 3 Credits.

Examination of major career development theories and their application to practice. Specific topics include career assessments, gender and cultural implications and career decision-making. Emphasis on practical skills to support client career decisions and development.
Career assessments fee: $50.

COUN675 • Child and Adolescent Counseling. 3 Credits.

Overview of the major theories and techniques for working with children and adolescents in counseling. Topics include: behavioral interventions, expressive therapy interventions, communication with school and outside services, legal and ethical issues specific to children and adolescents, and multicultural practice implications. Specific focus on the family system and its engagement in the counseling process.

COUN680 • Neuroscience, Counseling, and Trauma. 3 Credits.

Introduction to the structure and function of the brain including biological basis of normal behavior and behavioral disorders, the influence of trauma on the brain, and drug influences on behavior. Trauma treatment strategies in counseling and psychopharmacological approaches will be addressed.

COUN780 • Practicum. 3 Credits.

Initial supervised counseling experience involving individual and group counseling practice in the community. 100 hours of experience at a practicum site including 50 direct client contact hours of which 10 must be group work. Individual and group weekly supervision is required.

COUN781 • Internship I. 3 Credits.

Supervised counseling internship provides students the opportunity to gain professional and clinical experience providing mental health services to the community. 300 hours of experience at an internship site including a minimum of 120 direct client contact hours. Individual and group weekly supervision is required.

COUN790 • Internship II. 3 Credits.

Advanced supervised counseling internship provides students the continued opportunity to gain professional and clinical experience providing mental health services to the community. 300 hours of experience at an internship site including a minimum of 120 direct client contact hours. Individual and group weekly supervision is required. Completion of course signified the completion of program clinical training requirements.

PSYC609 • Therapeutic Play. 3 Credits.

Techniques in expressive therapies, emphasis on play therapy. The continuum from client-centered to directive therapy and application possibilities based on client needs and setting. Common themes in children’s play, and dynamics of interpretation are considered and applied. Applying skills and techniques in working with children.

PSYC613 • Expressive Therapies with Children and Adolescents: Art, Play, Drama, Music. 3 Credits.

In-depth description of expressive therapy theories, research, and practice. Learners will gain an understanding of the neurobiological basis of art therapy and other expressive therapies. Exploration of the benefits of using drawings and other art forms with children and adolescents. Focus is on various interactive learning experiences and art techniques with discussion of applications to various settings and populations.

PSYC621 • Therapeutic Art and Play. 3 Credits.

A focus on techniques in expressive therapies, with an emphasis on art therapy and play therapy. The continuum from client-centered to directive therapy is examined, and the application possibilities based on client needs and the setting are explored. Common themes in children's art and play are identified, and the dynamics of interpretation are considered and applied in light of current outcome research.

PSYC623 • Individual and Group Microskills with Children and Adolescents. 3 Credits.

Issues (abuse, divorce, domestic violence, chemical abuse, etc.) from the child/adolescent point of view, impact of these issues on their functioning. Core helping skills for this population, including facilitating support groups, individual counseling skills, and applications of cognitive behavioral therapy. Ethical issues regarding working with children/adolescents and influence of gender, class, and cultural diversity factors on counseling processes.

PSYC625 • Child and Adolescent Psychopathology and Assessment. 3 Credits.

Students are equipped to be informed communicators with mental health professionals with whom they collaborate. Emphasis on distinguishing among common psychological disorders falling in normal and clinical significant ranges, as well as on beginning experience in administering and interpreting behavioral, cognitive, and personality assessment instruments.
Assessment fee: $50.

PSYC645 • Intro to Family Systems. 3 Credits.

Exploration of basic family dynamics (such as intimacy, communication, power, shame), with special emphasis given to examining those dynamics from the family systems and family development theoretical perspectives. Differences in family structures and patterns with opportunities for learners to apply theoretical principles to real-life family situations.

PSYC648 • Individuals and Families in Cultural Context. 3 Credits.

Study of cultural variations in individual and family identity development and functioning. Exploration of how underlying culture-specific values and assumptions may impact gender roles, marital and parental adjustment, and interaction patterns. Emphasis is on societal changes, critical issues, and stressors in family adaptation related to diverse worldviews, immigration, and acculturation challenges.